Monday, 11 June 2012

PUSH-UPS: H.J. Hampson

So, what you pushing right now?
My debut novel, The Vanity Game, coming out as an e-book on June 11th.

What’s the hook?

Beaumont Alexander, a van and arrogant premiership footballer, goes to a celebrity party where he commits an act of violence that puts him on a collision course with a shady cartel of gangsters. His cosy celebrity lifestyle is about to spiral horribly out of control…

And why’s that floating your boat?

Because I am fascinated by the darker side of fame, and what fame means, and how the image of a famous person relates to the actual being. The book is a satire on celebrity culture, which I just felt was so ripe for satorising.

When did you turn to crime?
When the money I made from writing failed to pay for my burgeoning cough medicine addiction…. No, seriously, I have to admit I never really thought of myself as a crime writer until I got signed to Blasted Heath.  I just thought of myself as a writer of darkly humorous fiction with murders and stuff in it. I’ve always been fascinated by crime and murder though – the gritty seams of society.

Hardboiled or Noir, classic or contemporary?
I read a lot of different stuff, and I’m not sure what you would class as classic, but I do veer towards books by dead writers I suppose.

And, what’s blown you away lately?
It’s rather late, but I’ve only recently properly discovered Margaret Atwood. She is a phenomenally good writer.  I thought The Handmaiden’s Tale was chilling – the way she describes how women’s rights were so easily eroded to create the dystopia in which the main story is set.  It’s a very relevant book for today’s times.

See any books as movies waiting to happen?
I write screenplays as well as novels, and I’ve always fancied having a go at adapting DM Thomas’ The White Hotel myself.  Saying that, I dislike the dominance of adapted material in film. I’d like to see production companies developing more original screenplays. Though just to contradict myself again, I wouldn’t say no if someone offered a load of money for the film rights to The Vanity Game.

Mainstream or indie - paper or digital?
All – I love my Kindle but I still read old fashioned paper books as well. If a story appeals to me I don’t care if it is mainstream, indie, paper or digital.

Shout us a website worth visiting … – Beaumont Alexander, The Vanity Game’s protagonist, in real time.

Finally, tell us any old shit about yourself …
·    I’ve never seen Star Wars.
·    When I was younger I was so obsessed with the band the Manic Street Preachers that I got a line from their song ‘Faster’ tattooed on my hip.
·    I have been an audience member on Top of the Pops.
·    On the last holiday I took, an internal flight almost crashed upon landing and there was a moment when I really thought ‘well, this is it’. Afterwards I wondered whether, if I had died in a plane crash, The Vanity Game would become one of those weird cult books because I never got the chance to write any more.

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